Everyone talks about the Scrum Master as being a servant leader of the team, the one that protects it, guides it and makes sure the processes based on Agile principles are followed.
But, are we underestimating this vital role in project management?
Is the Scrum Master Even More?
The person holding this position is actually an emissary of change for the company – the one who harmonizes different backgrounds and personalities, pieces together distinct but equally valuable elements, uses the strength of each colleague for the good of the team, empowers them to achieve a common goal in the most effective way, while making sure to listen to everyone and inspire by setting an example – all while staying positive and professional!
No big deal, right? Wrong!
Meet Scrum Master, Alin a Pentaguy with a testing background who jumped on a “sink or swim” boat for a German client becoming a Proxy-Product Owner, before discovering his passion for the Scrum Master mission.
Innovation for Industry 4.0
As a subsidiary of one of Germany’s top industry players, our client draws on over 25 years’ experience in the development and implementation of manufacturing execution systems, supervisory control, data acquisition systems and human machine interface solutions.
Our client’s goal is making manufacturing more intelligent, efficient, and flexible, aiming to bring the smart factory vision to fruition.
The modular manufacturing execution system that we built offers end-to-end support for factory operations. Integrated data capture, analysis and visualization ensure complete transparency, forming the basis for digital factory solutions in line with Germany’s Industry 4.0 initiative.
This is where Pentalog came in. Alin and his team work in Brasov’s delivery center, assisting the client in making this dream a reality.
What Pentalog (actually) did for the Client
Pentalog provides “add-on modules” to the client’s application, expanding and developing its functionalities. These add-ons represent each of the working stations available in the factory. Some of them are automated and some have workers that monitor the conveyor belts to intervene on the flows. Fork Lift pieces travel on the conveyor belts to be painted in electrostatic fields, and our applications monitor and control the process.
The project was built based on a combination of Java 8 and a client tailored version of Smart GWT. The team quickly acquired Smart GWT knowledge along with the project starting steps and for this reason finds it even more rewarding to see the results of their work applied in German factories.
“Working well in a team means listening to other members of the team, taking everyone’s ideas on board, working for the good of the group as a whole – sharing the success and responsibility.”
During commissioning phases, the team switched processes to Kanban which allowed sprint length to vary. Two week Sprints were lengthened to 3 week Sprints (starting with Sprint 15) to synchronize with the clients teams and with the Demo to the Stakeholders.
The Pentalog team worked not on one, but two projects for this client and thanks to the positive feedback and quality of work – our third collaboration is just around the corner.
Becoming a Scrum Master
Working at Pentalog for 3 years, Alin started with a Testing mission and switched roles after about two years to part Scrum Master/part Proxy Product Owner for a German client based in Hamburg. It was a challenging project, to say the least. One that consisted of helping the client on location, acting as Scrum Master for 2 teams (one based in Czech Republic and one in Hamburg) and as Proxy Product Owner for the Pentalog team in Brasov. The positive feedback, pleasant experience and overall success of this project (details available on his LinkedIn profile) supported Alin in this new direction.
Alin’s Pentalog story began by attending a conference held by Pentalog and hosted by – one of his now colleagues – CTO Cornel Fatulescu. Starting with the first phrases, Alin was “captivated by the quality of the presentation, the clarity of the message and the warmth of the pleasant interactions with the audience.” That was the point when he told himself “if this kind of passionate professionals are at Pentalog, then Pentalog is the place for me.”
The Pentalog Way
A Scrum Master path in Pentalog usually starts with Evaluation on the Dryfus Scale (Novice, Advance Beginner, Competent, Proficiency, Expertise), and increases on this, confirming the knowledge by obtaining the International Scrum Master certification, an event which Pentalog encourages and partly financially supports it.
A Scrum Master can become involved in a project in a number of different ways. They can take on another team to improve the processes or just add momentum to the daily work. They can start to form a new team from scratch, recruit different team members and glue the team, or be involved in other projects as an adviser.
Pentalog offers a Mentorship Program to which more and more mentees are registering. Alin is now Mentor for a Scrum Master colleague that just started a new project and is also part of the Product Owner community in Brasov, a dedicated group that trains Scrum Masters to better understand and assist the Product Owner, with the possibility to later become one.
Next steps: climbing the proverbial Scrum Master ladder to the experience level of Competent (on the Dreyfus scale) and obtaining Scrum Master International Certification by the end of the year.
The Scrum Master Adventure
Becoming a Scrum Master is a rewarding endeavor, even more so within a company like Pentalog, that grants freedom to experiment and manage a team, encourages transparency and backs up the trust management has in colleagues to successfully solve issues they encounter.
While there is no clear cut recipe for success, here are some of Alin’s guidelines if you are interested in joining our Pentateam as a Scrum Master:
Work first as a tester – it helps
Scrum framework and Agile Principles are the mandatory starting point
Be an open-minded professional team player and always be willing to learn
Certifications are a plus and can sometimes make a big difference, as long as daily work supports all you learned
Passion – “More than all the other skills, you must be passionate about what you are doing and must always desire to improve yourself and those around you while staying true to the values in which you really believe in.”
“A good Scrum Master is one that guides the team and gives the colleagues the information that they need in order to successfully work together and always improve. A great Scrum Master is the one to which the team comes for guidance, because he always manages to inspire and give a fresh, brilliant, sparkling and Agile solution to everyday issues.”, Alin explains.
Did we stir you up? Need a challenge? Take the Scrum quiz & contact us if you want to become Scrum Master in Pentalog’s team!